When Baron Haussmann rebuilt Paris during the Second Empire, he converted the land into broad avenues (around 30 meters wide ≈ 100 ft).
For sure you know the names of these streets: boulevard de Sebastopol, boulevard Saint-Michel, boulevard Richard-Lenoir, rue de Rivoli, rue Saint-Antoine, rue de Rennes, avenue de l’Opéra… At the same time, the French architect Baltard was working on the Halles, a traditional central market which is now a shopping centre and will be completely rebuilt at the end of 2016.
In addition to this new network of large avenues, Haussmann worked on the development of green spaces: the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, the Parc Monceau, the Parc Montsouris, the Bois de Vincennes, the Bois de Boulogne… They offered and still offer citizens a place to relax amongst nature.
Haussmann took care over the aesthetics of the facades of the buildings. Street blocks were designed as architectural wholes, in order to build a unified urban landscape. The rue de Rivoli served as a model for the entire network of new Parisian boulevards. So, the Haussmann facade is organised around horizontal lines: balconies and cornices are perfectly aligned; the technological progress of stone sawing allowed the use of massive stone blocks instead of simple stone facing; you can notice the lack of sculpture and other stonework.
All these transformations improved the quality of life in the capital: disease epidemics ceased, traffic circulation improved and new buildings were better-built and more functional than their predecessors.